Google Maps

I introduced my six-year-old daughter Maggie to Google Maps, and it has become one of her favorite websites. We sat down together a couple of weeks ago, and just for fun, I showed her our city, our house, her school, and a few other landmarks I knew she would recognize. I also showed her how to zoom out so she could see the whole world. She particularly likes to look at Japan. She mentioned that characters in a cartoon she watches live there. I tried to show her the Great Wall of China, but I had trouble seeing it. I did show her the Eiffel Tower, and if you haven’t checked it out, you should. I can’t post a screencap because I think it violates Google’s Terms of Use, but you can easily locate it simply by typing “Eiffel Tower, France” into the search bar.

I can hear Maggie talking to her father in the other room as I write this, and she just told him that Russia is the biggest country in the world. This, of course, is something she figured out by looking at Google Maps, and not something she learned in kindergarten. She is always sharing interesting facts about what she learns from Google Maps. For instance, when I came in the room where we keep the family computer this morning, I discovered she had figured out how to search for pizza restaurants in Japan. And there are a few by the way. And more than you’d think in Cairo, too. A little while ago, we looked at the Pyramids in Egypt. Maggie likes to switch to hybrid view so she can see both the satellite image and the place names and roads — it helps her navigate better.

She has mastered using the Firefox search bar to look for cat videos in YouTube, too, but this post is about Google Maps, isn’t it? What an interesting way for a six-year-old to discover her world. I remember I had an old Replogle globe. I used to spend a lot of time looking over the globe and imagining the far away places on my map. I never could have dreamed the extent to which we can go there with current technology. Not only that, but it has some amazing implications for teaching.

I’ll admit to being a novice in terms of teaching with Google Maps and Google Earth, but after seeing how much my daughter has learned, and — and this is important, too — how much fun she has, I admit I’m brainstorming ways to incorporate Google Maps into my own curriculum.

[tags]google maps, earth, globe[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Google Maps”

  1. A six year old navigating Google Maps and YouTube just blows my mind. I love living in the Tech Age.

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